HarperCollins is a subsidiary of News Corp, a global media and information services company comprised of businesses across a range of media, including news and information services, cable network programming in Australia, digital real estate services, book publishing, digital education, and pay-TV distribution in Australia. Headquartered in New York, the activities of News Corp are conducted primarily in the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom. News Corp split in two companies in 2013. Television and film assets were put into the new 21st Century Fox, while roughly 130 newspapers (including the Wall Street Journal and the Times of London), educational businesses and other assets formed a new company under the old News Corp name. The split completes a process that the company announced in 2012, and responds to investor concerns that the newspaper and book publishing divisions were dragging on the faster growing pay TV business.
HarperCollins is one of the world’s largest English language book publishers. The company owns over 120 branded imprints, including Avon, Harper, HarperCollins Children’s Publishers, William Morrow and Christian publishers Zondervan and Thomas Nelson, which HarperCollins acquired in July 2012. In July 2014, HarperCollins completed its acquisition of Harlequin, the leading publisher of women’s fiction, from Torstar Corporation.
Analysis & Key Developments
Revenues for HarperCollins grew by 233 million USD for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015, from 1.43 billion USD in 2014 to 1.67 billion USD, a 16% increase from 2014. The growth was primarily driven by the acquisition of Harlequin, which contributed 281 million USD during fiscal 2015. The increase was also attributed to backlist sales in the general and children’s books categories, notably American Sniper by Chris Kyle, which partially offset lower revenues from the Divergent series by Veronica Roth of 84 million USD and the negative impact of foreign currency fluctuations.
In August 2015 HarperCollins announced the formation of HarperCollins Brasil, which combines the existing operations of Thomas Nelson Brasil and Harlequin Brasil with Ediouro's commercial trade publishing titles and personnel.
HarperCollins introduced its new Italian division, HarperCollins Italia, in September 2015, when HarperCollins bought out Monadori’s 50% share in Harlequin Mondadori, previously a joint venture between Harlequin Enterprises and Mondadori Libri. HarperCollins paid 6.7 million EUR for the buyout, according to the Italian press.
In April 2015 HarperCollins announced another expanded international division, HarperCollins France. Previously, Harlequin SA was a joint venture in France with Hachette Livre, but Harper Collins bought out their partner. They will continue to work with Hachette in an "ongoing partnership for distribution and sales.”
In February, HarperCollins Italia acquired 20lines, an app for the iPhone and Android that allows users to write, read and share short stories.
In March 2016, Harper Collins acquired the publishing rights for the accompanying volumes of the Warner Bros. film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by the best-selling author J. K. Rowling.
Also in March, Harper Collins Germany expanded its sales team and started a joint venture with the Aufbau Vertriebs GmbH. The independent company provides the personal care of the stationary book trade of HarperCollins, HarperCollins ya! and MIRA Taschenbuch in Germany and Switzerland.
As part of the marketing campaign for the new young adult novel by Alyson Noël, Unrivaled, HC published the book in 16 languages in more than 200 countries simultaneously on May 10, 2016. The coordinated effort was done to generate greater consumer awareness and help strengthen the author’s global brand. “As the world gets smaller and – especially in the YA market – consumers are finding authors from all around the world, the importance of a global author brand becomes increasingly important,” said Chantal Restivo-Alessi, Chief Digital Officer and Executive Vice President, International for HC Publishers.
As of June 30, 2015, HarperCollins offered approximately 100,000 publications in digital formats. Nearly all of HarperCollins’ new titles, as well as the majority of its entire catalog, are available as e-books. Digital sales, including e-books and digital audio books, represented approximately 22% of global consumer revenues for the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2015. Digital sales increased by 11% compared to fiscal 2014 due to the inclusion of Harlequin’s results and increased digital audiobook sales, which were partially offset by the lower contribution from the Divergent series as well as a shift towards the nonfiction genre, which has a lower e-book conversion.
In May 2015 HarperCollins Publishers announced that it would be the exclusive global book content partner for the launch of Shazam's new visual recognition functionality. This feature extends Shazam's mobile engagement platform by transforming static print and digital images into dynamic content. When a Shazam user waves their mobile phone over a HarperCollins book or promotional content with the Shazam camera logo on it, they will be taken to exclusive content from HarperCollins, including author interviews, special offers, videos, playlists and more.
HarperCollins Publishers announced in October 2015 its acquisition of The Midlist from Libboo, the industry leader in audience development through sharing content. The Midlist is a daily email newsletter featuring e-books deals.
HarperCollins U.S. landed 214 titles on the New York Times print and digital bestseller lists. Fifteen titles reached number one, including Divergent (series) by Veronica Roth, Heaven is For Real by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent, Yes Please by Amy Poehler, The Heist by Daniel Silva, American Sniper by Chris Kyle with Scott McEwen & Jim De Felice, and The Promise by Robyn Carr.